16 Jul 2012
What’s up with PM Meles Zenawi?
Readers, there are rumors on the Internet that Ethiopia’s PM Meles Zenawi is dead. He has not been present at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, and the word is he’s being treated for leukemia in Belgium (or Germany?).
If you have any tips or info, please leave a comment here or tweet me.
UPDATE at 2012/07/17, 15:26 EDT:
The Telegraph (UK) is reporting that Meles is in Belgium, being treated for an unspecified medical condition.
A Western diplomat told the Telegraph that reports on Ethiopian opposition websites claiming he had died were wrong. “Mr Zenawi is in Brussels receiving treatment,” he said. “Rumours that he has died are not correct.”
A spokesman for Belgium’s Foreign Ministry said it had not officially been informed he was in the country. “We cannot discuss his presence or his health, that’s something for the Ethiopian embassy or his family,” he added.
UPDATE at 2012/07/17, 19:30 EDT:
Voice of America is reporting that the Ethiopian government will give a press conference tomorrow (18 July) to deliver a statement about the situation with PM Meles and his health.
In a nation where the government maintains strict control over the local media, unconfirmed reports have surfaced in recent days on Ethiopian dissident web sites around the world that the prime minister suffers from cancer, a brain tumor and even that he might be dead.
One unverified report is that Meles has recently received treatment at Saint-Luc University Hospital in Brussels. The hospital did not reply to a VOA request for information about whether Meles was or had recently been a patient there.
The Government Communications Affairs Office said July 17 it will hold a press conference Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Addis to disclose Meles’ health condition.